Friday, October 28, 2011

Is it time for the scrap yard?

should this one skip life support?
Trade in or recycle?

Every day, when we are discussing new or reconditioned equipment with our customers, there are possible trade in conversations.  Similar to purchasing a new car, what do you do with the old one.  Dryers are usually the topic of conversation because the maintenance costs are too high or the current unit is too small for the production required.  Many times we are able to take the old unit as a trade for the new.  Some money is given for the trade and we rework the unit and offer it as reconditioned.  This makes the most sense.  Most of the time.

But when is that not the best answer?

Within the last 2 weeks we have acquired, or offer to take, some very large electric conveyor ovens.  We now have in our possession 48" x 20' machines that will need rework and we will put on the market.  (if you have any interest, please call.)  Unlike small ovens, the large ones have a very limited market and a much higher rebuilt cost.  The freight on these will usually eat up our profits on the deal.  

Four automatic presses, the problem is similar.  High freight costs, large repair bill, and, for some, a technician bill for installation.  

What factors to consider?

So, when you are moving into a new piece what are your options with the old one?

  1. You can list it on CraigsList or some other classified forum.  You will get some money from a local person.  They may be a competitor but now the used machine is their problem.  Don't expect a lot of cash but it will be cash.
  2. You can trade it toward the new machine.  If the vendor is willing, there may be trade in value.  Keep in mind that it will be 1/2 the value of what they will resell it for.  But they have to work on it and market it.  You will have to help to remove it and package it for shipping.
  3. You can call the scrap yard.   I know this sounds like a cop-out but it really is not.  Keep in mind that the depreciation is long since over for this unit.  The maintenance costs are higher than the machine value and your time is better spent selling your product than worrying about some used steel.
Scrap yard time.

So as a note to some long time customers of mine...  I know that you have museum pieces that we sold to you a generation ago.  But it is time to retire the old piece and be happy with the new one.  I will give you the bad news as to when to pull the plug.  Just please do not be offended.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Does show artwork matter?

Every year, for every show, we debate amongst ourselves whether the artwork that we print at shows needs to be changed.  Usually, the amount of time we have before we have to ship determines our choice of artwork.  The shorter the time, the more apt we are to send the old stand-by designs.  The question we always have is , "does it matter to the customer on the show floor, and does the art sell more machines"?  So we ask you.

Theory #1

The point of artwork is to give the sales people a tool to show off the features of the machine.  For example, we have run a 3 color round design for a couple of years.  The design is a butt-register and is difficult to set-up and hold.  We feature that design on the MasterPrinter and the ElectraPrint to explain the micro-registration and registration gate features of the machine.

We print a simple 2-color design on our smaller presses to teach new printers that printing can be a simple process.  This design shows easy set-up and wet-on-wet printing.

The idea is that these designs will help our sales staff sell machinery because the customers will see the features and benefits of the machine.  This has worked out pretty well.

Theory #2

The best artwork is one that grabs attention from the aisle.  The cooler the design, the more people we will get to talk to.  Working the percentage numbers on the floor.

Our competitors do offer some great looking art.  They only print at scheduled times and they sell the shirts.

These designs are more costly to run, they may not emphasis the features of the machine and they may hide any number of printing errors and still look great.

We have tried this technique at the most recent shows.  We do get a great crowd.  We sell enough shirts to cover our costs of the garments and the artist's time and we have sold machines.  Nice.

The Debate
So, in your opinion, does the artwork make a difference at a trade show when you are shopping for new machinery?  Or are we just attracting the attention of shirt collectors?  When you see us at a show, please let us know.